In the spirit of the back to school season, I thought it was timely to share a story about my personal education journey. Starting from the very beginning, I LOVED school. I was that kid who didn’t want to take family vacations during the school year because of the fear I would miss out (“FOMO” as they say). When it was time to apply to colleges, I couldn’t wait to fill out applications and write essays. I even became a teacher…an algebra teacher no less!…when I graduated from college. I was surely destined for a life of academia.

However, despite my passion for education and the classroom, I ended up on a different career path. A path where media outreach, AP Style, events, and social media ruled. Public relations soon became my other passion. And in the midst of my love affair with PR, I lost sight of my old love – school.

Enter Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yes, MIT, the higher education institution known for advancements in science in technology. This year I had the opportunity to take an eight-week business management course at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. My super cool boss at Hollywood Agency (shameless plug!) allowed me to miss days in the office to take on the challenge. It had been well over a decade since I’d been in the classroom, but all those old feelings of excitement came rushing back. Mostly I looked forward to the prospect of learning new theories and processes, and then coming back to work and putting them into practice.

I made it through the eight weeks, completed the class, and received my certificate. Some days seemed long as I juggled school, my career and an infant at home, but the memories and knowledge in those eight weeks taught me so much. Yes, much of what I learned from the extremely brilliant professors at MIT was about theory and putting it into practice. However, what I didn’t expect was the life lessons that also came from it. I met so many smart, diverse people from around the country, that I may not have had the chance to meet – let alone collaborate with – otherwise. I learned that homework isn’t as bad as I remembered, and that group projects are so much fun. I learned that MIT has better food than any school cafeteria I’ve ever been to. And last, and maybe most importantly, I learned that I should never lose sight of the joy of being a student, even in the midst of a rewarding, fast-paced career.

So, for everyone out there reading this, happy back to school. Enjoy the journey and never stop learning.

Courtney here. I’m an SVP at Hollywood Agency and, throughout my professional career, I’ve launched and promoted hundreds of new products in the home, food, family and pet categories for major consumer product companies.

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